Are We Really Free To Make Our Own Decisions?

Posted on October 30, 2011 in Health and Life

By Sameera Rao:

Can a 14-year old boy from India, whose family survives on less than $1 a day, choose to receive proper education? Education is compulsory for all, a law that is made but unfortunately not implemented enough to ensure that the children from families living below poverty line can receive proper education. This example clearly shows that an individual is bound by his circumstances. Unless the child is a certified genius he may never get a sponsor. Is the boy not limited in the choices he can make?

An individual’s grip on his life depends on the choices he makes. The choices can be made if equality of opportunity exists for all. However the world is not created as equal. There are disparities in every region. Freedom of choices for many individuals comes at a high cost. Aung San Suu Kyi, a political reformer from Myanmar was under house arrest from the year 1991 to 2010, because she chose to welcome only democracy in her country. Her freedom of choice was violated by the dictatorship regime which put her under house arrest and her family members had to flee from their place of birth to seek political asylum in other Western countries. Her choice had several disastrous consequences for herself and her family members. Her will and indomitable spirit were admired by many around the world but there were many who did not follow her example in her own country. Many Burmese citizens were scared to choose democracy in order to save themselves from an extremely authoritative regime. Are they not limited in the choices they can make?

An individual suffering from HIV AIDS may want to continue his professional life by choosing to go to work but due to social stigmas and health restraints he may be unable to do so. The recent Burqa Ban protests in France show that many muslim women may have a personal desire to wear the ‘hijab’ or ‘veil’ but due to the stringent anti-burqa laws they are unable to do so. Are these women not limited in the choices they can make?

In a nutshell, an individual’s liberty to choose his own actions is restricted by the political and economic circumstances in his life, the repercussions of his actions on others, the availability of equality of opportunity and moral obligations to society. An individual is therefore limited to make a choice based on reality rather than personal dreams or desires.

This is my personal opinion and surely anyone can refute it, but thousands of such examples show through empirical analysis that choices are limited for an individual- be it Caesar the king or Bart the clown- there are no exceptions.